Braves 5, Nationals 4

The Braves take the series 2 games to 1, and record their 5th win in 6 games. They stand at 57 – 55, 2 games behind the Phillies, and .5 games ahead of the Mets.

The Nationals opened the scoring in the top of the 3rd, starting when Luis Garcia singled, and Max Fried walked pitcher Patrick Corbin. Corbin was forced at 2nd on the old 3-1-4 force out when Austin Riley‘s diving attempt at fielding a Victor Robles bunt ricocheted back to Max. Garcia advanced to 3rd on the play however, and scored on an Alcides Escobar single. That was the only run Max would allow, battling through 6 innings on 105 pitches. He allowed 7 hits and a walk, along with 5 strikeouts.

The Braves struck back in the bottom of the 3rd to take the lead. Fried hit a 2-out single, and Ozzie Albies followed with his 18th home run. Albies went 1 – 3 with a walk out of the leadoff spot. Fried is now batting .324.

The Braves extended the lead with 2 out in the 6th. Riley’s opposite field double scored Dansby Swanson from 1st, and Adam Duvall followed with his 24th homer of the season. A Duvall single in the 4th gave him 2 hits on the day and broke a 5 consecutive strikeout streak. Adam is like a slot machine – you have to put a lot of quarters in before you get a jackpot, but you can’t walk away from it.

The bullpen would need every bit of that 5 – 1 lead. Jesse Chavez came on to pitch the 7th, and could not get through it. He gave up 3 hits and 2 runs before yielding to Richard Rodriguez to record the final out. Rodriguez stayed on to pitch an uneventful 8th, walking 1, and striking out pinch hitter Juan Soto looking.

Will Smith got the day off after pitching 3 of the last 4 days and yielding his 1st earned runs since July 10th. Chris Martin was called upon for the save, and got it, despite allowing a run on consecutive 2 out doubles by Escobar and Ryan Zimmerman.

Bullpens are volatile and small sample traps when one thinks one has them figured out. The truth is somewhere in between as bad as we thought, and as good as we thought, but it’s clear the Braves don’t have a lockdown reliever. Smith has a 1.12 WHIP and 10.7 K/9 innings, but has allowed 5 homers in 44 2/3 innings. Martin has a 6.3 K/9 rate. Rodriguez is 31 years old, and has been entrusted to amass 19 career saves. Tyler Matzek was dead and buried 3 weeks ago; which do you trust? Chavez has been good, but he’s only pitched 16 1/3 innings. Luke Jackson is Luke Jackson. This is an imperfect team with a decent chance of winning an imperfect division.

One more bullpen note. Shane Greene has pitched 1 inning in the last 12 days; Josh Tomlin has thrown 2. It could not be more clear that this team could drop a reliever and add a bench bat, or even 2. (It doesn’t have to be 1 of those 2 guys, but it ought to be somebody.) In addition to adding a bench bat, this has the bonus of ensuring that our 14th best pitcher never comes in to a game.

Freddie Freeman came on in the 7th in a double switch, and should be recovered and ready to help the Braves try to stay hot when the Reds come to town on Tuesday. Drew Smyly and Jon Gray and Sonny Gray scheduled at 7:20.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

130 thoughts on “Braves 5, Nationals 4”

  1. @Rob from previous thread

    I wasn’t impressed at all with the .500 Cardinals in the Central and the Braves seemed to be a vastly superior team in both series we played them. And the Braves seemed pretty even with the Brewers in that series. I wonder if the NL East records are partially because the teams are beating up on each other in division play.

    The NL West is obviously the best division by far in the NL.

  2. There’s a way to answer that question, Braves14, and you’ve just given me my hook for Thursday’s recap. Stay tuned.

  3. Thanks, Rusty–great job as always.

    One of the most fascinating things about this game was when Rodriguez struck out the pinch hitting Juan Soto. As you note, it was on a called third strike. You sometimes hear Soto called a modern-day Ted Williams. That AB called to mind the (no doubt apocryphal) story about Williams:

    A young pitcher is struggling to find the strike zone, and he throws a couple of close pitches to Ted Williams, who takes them both and is ahead in the count 3-1. “Where was that?” yells the injured pitcher. “Young man,” replies the umpire, “Mr. Williams will let you know when you have thrown a strike.”

    Soto’s reaction to the called strike looked like disbelief–seems he’s not accustomed to the ump disagreeing with his assessment of the pitch.

    Just shows that Soto is not Williams yet.

  4. Rusty, that is one well written recap. Thank you.

    And I can’t wait to read Jonathan’s insight, even though there will probably be math.

    Great story, tfloyd. I’d heard that beforw, but old brains atrophy. Thank you for it.

  5. In fairness to Chris Martin that one double should have been an error. He should have gotten out of that inning clean.

  6. Great job with the recap. Braves will be facing Sonny Gray on Tuesday though, not Jon. (Gotta stick up for my VandyBoy. Even if I hope we beat him.)

  7. @3 – Adding to the apocryphal probability, I’ve always heard that quote attributed to Al Barlick in reference to Stan Musial.
    And Soto is neither. Yet.

  8. Soto isn’t Williams, but I’m comfortable tagging him the best hitter in baseball. If you gave me a dynasty draft in heaven, I’d draft the Splinter first (or, what the hell, Josh Gibson), but I bet I’d take Childish Bambino over Stan the Man.

    (Soto’s career split, .296/.418/.543, is pretty comparable to the .331/.417/.559 career line put up by the single best left-handed hitting, left-handed throwing outfielder ever born in Donora, Pennsylvania on November 21.)

    And if you disagree with me, just remember that he’s leading the major leagues in OBP, again, for the second year in a row, has light-tower power, and won’t turn 23 until a few days before Halloween. Acuna’s a more complete player, but Soto’s the best hitter since Bonds went to BALCO. I hope the Nats bungle the negotiations and the Braves hand him $400 million and a 15-year contract.

  9. @1, 2, 4

    Is the answer to look at records against other divisions? East vs. the rest, West vs. the rest, etc.? Interleague play? I know we suck in interleague play this year.

  10. Actually, as best I can tell the quote was first attributed to umpire Bill Clem with respect to Rogers Hornsby. The story works best with the Splinter, though, because his plate discipline was the best ever.

    And, yes, I agree with Alex about Soto’s greatness, based largely on his ability to get on base (I.e., not make outs), which is the single most important attribute a hitter can losses.

    If Chip were in on this conversation, he might disagree about Soto’s greatness, pointing out that Soto is too willing to take a walk rather than drive in runs. At least, I’ve heard him do that a couple of times recently with respect to Votto.

  11. As great as Soto is, I’d still take Ronald over him, based on overall greatness, including defense and baserunning.
    And Ronald’s on base ability continues to get better and better. He’s not far off Soto in that regard. This season he rarely chased anything out of the zone.

  12. Didn’t Chip say during yesterday’s game, that even the best hitter only gets on base thirty percent of the time. @12, that would confirm your thought about him.

  13. Alex/Tfloyd/Timo, yes Chip is stupid to say things like that and undervalue obp like he does. A .400 obp is what the ‘best hitters’ have and it’s a huge difference over .300. I’m sure someone smarter than me, ahem Jonathan/Ryan, could with just a little research tell us how much difference 100 pts of obp makes in runs created or some similar stat, over the course of a season with all other stats being equal.

  14. Let’s breakdown Soto and Acuna on the five tools:

    Contact: Soto
    Power: Acuna
    Discipline: Soto
    Speed: Acuna
    Defense: Acuna

    Am I wrong?

    In 20 more games played, Soto has Acuna beat on bWAR. Acuna has Soto beat by a bigger margin on fWAR. Adjusting for games played, Acuna has been the better player. If Acuna becomes a 1.000 OPS guy, then he will be infinitely more valuable because of his speed and defense. Soto probably has to beat Acuna by 100 OPS points to overcome that.

    On the fun factor, I’m taking Acuna all day.

  15. Unfortunately,

    Health: Soto

    Streakiness (probably a bad thing) : Acuña

    But I cant disagree with the ones you mentioned, Rob.

  16. @17 Depending on when Acuna comes back, Acuna might still be ahead in fWAR in the same amount of seasons even with the time missed. Acuna adds more to his game than Soto does. Sometimes that’ll lead to injuries.

    Now, Washington has a tremendous advantage with Soto. Want to protect him? Make him a first baseman. Can’t really do that with Acuna.

  17. A commenter also noted that Shane Greene has not pitched in 10 days.

  18. Nothing against Minter, but if we don’t need Shane Greene, we don’t need 14 pitchers. We need another bench bat.

  19. My guesses in the who replaces who game:

    1. Anderson replaces Touki
    2. D’arnaud replaces Vogt
    3. Ynoa replaces Greene
    4. Rosario replaces Tomlin

    September call-ups:
    1. William Contreras
    2. A.J. Minter

    I know I’ll catch scrutiny, but Kevan has lasted this long for some reason and I think he’ll stick around as a back up that “pitchers like to throw to” aka “I don’t give up as much runs when he catches me”.

  20. @16 If Acuna is a +.290 hitter forever, then I agree its him.

    But if he’s more of a .277 and some years .284 and an occasional .300+ year, and he’s going to be this injury prone, then its closer and may even tip toward Soto.

    It’s interesting that RAJ is his #1 comp.

  21. Ooof, no more Kevan, please, there is always a chance that the lower ERA when he catches is just pure coincidence.

    I’m all for giving Minter another go; the guy always gets a pass from me for those 3IP in the nlcs, they would have been legendary if not for Will Smith failing against Will Smith, as I am constantly reminded by

    As for Acuña or Tatis, I would say healthwise Acuña has the advantage, and I would have waited more before giving Tatis that contract.

  22. @21 – Smith catches all the grief, but it’s not clear Vogt is any better. But, I think they’ll keep Vogt so they can organize it that d’Arnaud gets his off days against righties.

  23. @16 If Acuna is a +.290 hitter forever, then I agree its him.

    But if he’s more of a .277 and some years .284 and an occasional .300+ year, and he’s going to be this injury prone, then its closer and may even tip toward Soto.

    So one more hit a month moves the needle?

  24. I’m fine with keeping Smith in the clubhouse as long as he’s in street clothes. I don’t want him strapping on the tools of ignorance ever again. He makes Eddie Perez look like Javy Lopez.

  25. @23 Tatis the shortstop or Tatis the outfielder? There’s been talk of moving him to the OF to protect his oft-injured shoulder.

    Tatis the SS > Acuna > Tatis the OF

  26. @25 Depends on what you mean by better. Vogt is a nice backup catcher because he’s a LHB who’s hit RHP pretty well for his career (.744 OPS). If d’Arnaud faces everybody, RHP and LHP, and Vogt catches a day game after a night game, and that’s usually against a RHP, then that’s about the best you can hope for.

    Now, if he’s cooked, he’s cooked. But I would think the most optimal arrangement is a backup catcher who can hit RHP. Smith’s had 100 PAs at this point this year. I feel like we have a decent idea of what we have with him.

  27. I’ve heard people say that Kevan Smith is not as bad of a hitter as he appears, but every time people say that his hitting actually gets worse. A .165/.248/.198 (.445 OPS for Atlanta!) is just not going to cut it anywhere. His OPS between 2017 and 2020 was just over .700, so I agree he should be better. The problem is his defense seems to be getting worse and worse (4 PBs and 1 error in 227 innings). Vogt is 36 years old and his OPS is .466 with Atlanta in a small sample size, but his defense seems to be slightly better (maybe he doesn’t call as good of a game? – 0 PBs or errors in 107 innings). The choice seems to be horrible and horribler (if that’s not a word it should be). I just hope D’Arnaud is 100% healthy so he can catch 90% of the games going forward. I still think Vogt has the slight edge in being less horrible.

  28. I know this is going to be radical as an opinion, but in the debate about Soto and Acuna, I wouldn’t mind having both on this team and getting to see which was is better for the next decade or so.

  29. @21 Ah, but you have to play the options game. Greene/Tomlin/K. Smith/Vogt/Almonte have no options.

    Here’s what I think:

    TdA replaces Smith (DFA but might not be claimed and could remain in system)
    Anderson replaces Touki (1 option remaining)
    Ynoa (1 option remaining) replaces Santana (2 options remaining) – or stays in minors until performance improves
    Rosario replaces Heredia (1 option remaining) – Joc and Duvall take over CF, Rosario in LF and Soler in RF – Heredia is slumping badly anyway
    Davidson stays in minors until September

    Greene, Tomlin, Vogt, and Almonte keep their roster spots. Anyone else to be added (Davidson? Minter? Touki? Santana? or other) would take the spot of one of these four and the Braves won’t do that unless it’s the end of time (look how long it took to get Ender released).

    Too many choices for September callups to predict. But Contreras almost has to be one.

  30. @34–I think you’re right about the Braves and options. I also think you’re right about the names. A couple of caveats: Touki should have a couple of starts before Anderson comes back. If he pitches like his first two starts, there is no way he’s going down. Also, as much as they don’t want to release anyone, I’ve got to believe Heredia stays and Almonte goes, because of defense. I’m not sure they are ready to commit to Joc and Duvall as the only guys who can play center.

  31. As bad as the catchers on the big league roster have been, the future for catchers in ATL is bright. Contreras has been raking at AAA, and Langeliers has continued to hit at AA beyond what most expected of him. His defense is every bit as good as advertised.
    The Braves have an interesting decision as to next year. Do they entrust the catching next year to one or the other or both of them? Or do they sign TDA or some other veteran to give both young guys more experience in the minors?

  32. If I’m ranking the best players I have Tatis and Ronald 1 an 1A. They are both well rounded players who can hit, hit for power, run the bases, field and throw. Soto is a great hitter and I like the guy but he isn’t as good of an overall player as the other two. I just hope Ronald’s knee heals 100%.

  33. @34
    I think you’re correct. I can’t see Greene going, but it is odd he hasn’t pitched much lately. Maybe he’s being saved for blowout losses. It seems redundant having both him and Tomlin on the team.

    I’m not sure how good an outfield of Rosario, Pederson / Duvall, Soler would be defensively, but outfield defense is over-rated right?

  34. @38 They might have him on an independent throwing schedule to have him work on stuff and get back on track. When you don’t get a Spring Training, it has to have an impact, and if you don’t have options, I would think you would just have to be buried at the bottom of the bullpen while you have a faux Spring Training at extended spring training or the alternate site or whatever is in place for him to face hitters.

  35. @37 Correct, three years down the road ask again. It’s a career that matters. Unless one of them almost single handedly leads his team to a World Series championship.
    I don’t think Soto can do that.
    And you are what you are in the big leagues not AAA. It’s a place to go to rehab, work things out, but what you do when you are an Atlanta Brave is all that counts.
    If Atlanta is looking for outfield help in the minors, they will be sadly disappointed.
    Go Dodgers.

  36. No one can single-handedly lead his team to a World Series championship. Trout can’t do it. Bonds couldn’t do it. Hell, Ted Williams couldn’t do it.

  37. Pete Gray didn’t take the Browns to a world Championship, but in his one season in St Louis they had one of the best records they ever had. The year before he was MVP of the Southern Association and took the Memphis Chicks to within one game of the championship.
    And unlike Jim Abbott, he played every day.

  38. I was torn between citing Abbott and Gray.

    And I learned last night while trying to think up a clever crack about Mordecai Brown that he actually had 4 fingers. As far as I’m concerned, that took him off the list.

    On the other (ahem) hand…. Antonio Alfonseca lent a helping hand in a Marlins World Championship. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but El Pulpo had something extra that year. You’d think in this digital age you could look something like that up.

  39. Eddie Rosario rehabbing at AAA tonight.
    D’Arnaud will be activated today.
    Ynoa and Anderson soon.

    It’s all coming together at the right time. Buckle up.

  40. 2 pitchers have combined for 3 innings in the last 13 days, and we DFA Greene and call up… another pitcher. I’m about to lose my religion.

  41. 53 — I think Snitker must insist he has an extra man out of the bullpen for his anxiety or something.

  42. Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. Color me wrong. I thought the contract was for more than it is, though. I guess Braves are hoping someone else will pay the tab.

    @53 Believe it or not, based upon how the year began, we are short on lefties right now. Without Minter, it was only Matzek and Smith among the relievers.

  43. Looking back at my prediction, it wasn’t really wrong…….yet. I didn’t include Greene or Minter except to say if someone like Minter was added then it would be at the expense of someone like Greene. I can still stand by my other predictions….. :)

    It will be interesting to see who catches tonight. I think it’s possible that TdA’s addition was delayed because the candidate to not be DFA’d was scheduled to catch and TdA would not be used anyway.

  44. I wonder if Greene passes through waivers. I’m sure someone will want to give him a shot.

  45. I’m glad Greene’s gone, since he couldn’t get Bartolo Colon out right now. I’m not looking forward to him inevitably signing with another team and having a sub-1.00 ERA the rest of the year, but I’m resigned to it. At least he won’t kill our team any more.

  46. Sonny Gray and the professional winner tonight. Gray is like Smyly with the exception that he doesn’t know how to win like Drew does – the Braves won nine out of his last ten starts. Good for Minter, he hopefully figured it out in AAA.

  47. 58 — I think the same. He will get claimed and someone else will pay a fraction of his salary.

  48. @41 Not accurate. You are showing a lack of World Series history knowledge.
    Do your research sir.

  49. @62, I’ve done plenty. Happy to show my work if you’d like to show yours. No one can singlehandedly lead their team to a championship. Not even if their 24 teammates helped them through the regular season and then just fell asleep in the playoffs. But I’m referring to the whole task of marching through 162 (or 154, or…) regular season games plus however many postseason games it takes — whether it’s a best-of-nine championship or the more modern gantlet of WCG + LDS + LCS + WS.

    No one.

  50. What are the chances Braves keep Peterson, Duvall , Soler or Rosario after this season .. not sure but I think Peterson has a mutual 10 mil option ( you think both sides want that ) .. and the others I think are all FA .. I wanted to keep Duvall to begin with .. I think we need to keep him or Soler .. Rosario havent seen but I see us maybe trying to keep 2 of the 4 .. unless Braves want to go look in free agency for a OF .. also I think any money we have should go to bullpen additions .. and a starter .. unless they see more years in Morton or Smiley .

  51. Let me help you out.
    1957 Lew Burdette 3-0 Era .67
    Two shutouts and three complete games.
    That is leading you team to a World Series Championship
    I am talking leading you team to World Series Championship. I don’t believe I mentioned regular season or playoffs. As a matter of fact I know I didn’t. Details, observe the details. It is critical in being accurate.

  52. 64-A lot will depend on the resolution of the Ozuna situation I’d imagine. Incidentally, I wonder why he was never placed on the 60 day IL. He’s been on for more than 60 days and that would give some roster flexibility, but their may be some legal reason for keep the status quo pending investigation. He is supposed to have a hearing in less than a month I think.

  53. @65, it sounds like you and I are talking about different things.. Burdette won the World Series MVP in 1957; of course, his teammate was the NL MVP. Personally, I think Bad Henry had quite a bit to do with that championship. (And Spahn wasn’t chopped liver, either.) For me, that is simply not what “singlehandedly” means.

    I apologize for losing my temper.

  54. @66 and spend the money somewhere else needed ..another starter , bullpen or bring back D’arnaud

  55. Satchel is definitely talking about something different. Mickey Lolitch in the ’68 World Series was another guy that carried a team in a World Series. But that team was deep through 162.

    If that’s Alex losing his temper, then I’m a full on psychopath.

  56. No comment, your Honor :)

    I was mad, then I edited my comment to sound less mad.

  57. If anyone can lead their team to a championship it’s Drew Smyly. Predicting a big win tonight. We’re due for a blowout victory.

    I’m bummed the whole Shane Greene thing didn’t work out. If he thought his market in 20-21 offseason was disappointing… hoo boy.

  58. @65, even in your example, if Burdette’s teammates had scored 0 runs or even 1 run in his first WS game (certainly wouldn’t have been too unusual, as the opposing starter had a 2.45 ERA that year), he would’ve lost and the Braves would’ve lost the Series. But yeah, there’s a difference between “leading the team” during a series and doing it “singlehandedly” over a year.

  59. @77 I’m not sure what Greene’s plan is too. He holds out, loses money in the process just simply based on the amount of time he didn’t play, he’s behind the 8-ball, never catches up, gets DFA’ed. Now what? He throws 15-20 innings for someone down the stretch and then gets paid peanuts next year?

    Every year, it seems, someone does this. What’s the thought process here?

  60. It took Craig Kimbrel pretty much 2 seasons to come back after his mid 2019 signing. One would think that sooner or later both relievers and teams would realize signing before spring training is a good idea.

    Note to Shane Greene: keep pitching.

  61. @72 – the winning pitcher for St. Louis in that game, Mark Petkovsek, signed my glove once when he was in AAA, and even though I’d never heard of him before that game, as an 8 y/o, I instantly became a die-hard Petkovsek fan (despite being a Braves fan, ofc.), & followed him as closely as I could. He never became the superstar of my daydreams, but he did hang in the league awhile, & ended up with a few decent-ish seasons as a reliever.

  62. Someone thread the needle for me. I think most Braves fans think we have a pretty good shot at the division at this point, myself included. Does anyone think we can beat SF, LA, and/or SD? SF’s run diff is double ours, and ours is actually pretty good. SD almost double. LA’s is almost TRIPLE.

    Does anyone think this isn’t another first round exit squad?

  63. I think that’s JonathanF’s bat-signal for the math on how it really is a crapshoot. If you ask me, no. But hey — we’ve certainly tried to get through the playoffs with a dominant team and run into a buzzsaw. Why not try the opposite?

  64. One guy I was really hoping would get traded at the deadline was Camargo. I think Snitker has written him off but he could still be useful for some team like the Pirates as a utilityman. I hope he catches on somewhere and gets another shot. He had really solid years in 2017 and 2018. 19 homeruns, an OPS+ of 115 and solid defense at 3rd and short in 2018 at 24 years old should have been something to build on.

  65. @85 Agreed.

    @84 Agreed.

    I mean, sure, watch this be the year where we get 5-6 pitchers and 5-6 hitters red hot for a few weeks, some breaks go our way, and we win it all. And Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Chipper, Andruw, et al never ended up being a part of a group like that. Of course.

  66. I think most Braves fans think we have a pretty good shot at the division at this point, myself included. Does anyone think we can beat…

    Setting aside the playoff outcomes question–which is putting the cart before the horse in a way that can only incur the wrath of the baseball gods–define “pretty good.”

    Why would the Braves be any likelier than the Phillies or Mets to win the division? If any of the three were to come out on top, it wouldn’t surprise me.

  67. @ 83,

    First, division gets you by the one game play in. Also gives you about 4 days to rest your bullpen.

    So. If you get 3 starters and 3 relievers clicking with a little offensive hot streak, you can get a notch deeper.

    Before you can win a World Series, you first have to stop sucking. This team doesn’t suck. That is not a bad thing, is it?

  68. @83 This year might be easier than most. Almost definitely two of SD, LA or SF will have to play the wild card, with the winner to play the West winner. So we’d only have to beat the Brewers or the Reds. Get past them and we face the winner or the NL West gauntlet, of which only LA scare me. And we nearly beat them last year. So yeah, it is definitely doable.

  69. @83 If 100-win Braves teams can lose in the first round, 100-win Dodgers teams can lose in the first round.

    Short series can swing either way. Especially in baseball.

  70. Dang. If they keep it up, a team like this could have a chance in the playoffs. They looked totally lost and with 2 at bats, tie game. It’s fun to watch.

  71. Okay, I guarantee you that Kevan Smith could not walk in a run twice in the same week.

  72. Smyly leaves the game in line for the win. Cy Young’s 110-year stranglehold on the all-time wins lead is in jeopardy as long as Smyly is still pitching.

  73. Albies has to move back down …he’s terrible at leadoff …Snitker got to realize that .. oh no Luke .

  74. It’s kind of cool that we got Jorge Soler for a song, because my dude can rake. It’s like we finally got revenge on the Royals for trading us Keith Lockhart for Jermaine Dye.

  75. We could easily regret not taking these opportunities. This game has Will Smith blown save written all over it.

  76. Blown too many opportunities to win this game .. why is Freeman walking like a 90 year old man .. if he that bad .. sit him down …

  77. Whoa, Jim Powell is on the radio feed of this one. First game I’ve heard him call all summer.

  78. Albies is hitting .148 from leadoff .. move him down …Peterson back to leadoff …PLEASE !!!!

  79. Suarez has the kind of batting average that takes Mediocre Smith deep.

    Edit: a walk because Smith won’t challenge anybody because he knows his stuff is garbage too

  80. Well Snit should have known they had RH hitters due in 9th and save Rodriguez for 9th .. he is clueless

  81. Regardless of outcome, Will Smith is not a closer. He backdoored into a closer’s job 3 years ago, and now he’s a Closer(TM) and no one questions it. He’s like how Creed Bratton on The Office works in Quality Assurance and no one knows why.

  82. It definitely is like a light flipped and they went from losing the coin flips to winning the coin flips. Momentum is tomorrow’s starter, but there’s no denying that this team is winning games they were losing consistently up until a couple weeks ago.

  83. Glad to get the W but yeah there’s no reason to not keep Matzek in for the 9th. He pitched to 1 batter and looked great.

  84. Very happy to be proven wrong! As you say Alex R, its nice to be winning these coin flip games for a change. Whew.

  85. One thing nice to see in the boxscore.

    Jackson, L ERA=2.09
    Rodriguez, Ri ERA=2.44
    Matzek ERA=2.49

    Every pitcher has his bad days but it’s been a while since we’ve seen a reliever lineup like that.

  86. @127, because he wanted to start and we had a better RF and a better LF (or at least AA and all of us thought Ozuna was better than Duvall), and we didn’t want to pay him as much to be a backup as Miami would pay him to be a starter. The way Miami structured his contract, we’re going to wind up paying him more for the second half of the season than they did for the first half, but we were more desperate for OFs by July than we were during the offseason.

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